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European Energy Union: a Commission priority

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On 25 February 2015, the European Commission officially adopted the European Energy Union Package and presented the first deliverables:

(a) a Communication on the Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy,

(b) a Communication on the EU position for the climate negotiations in Paris in December 2015 and

(c) a Communication on how to bring the EU's electricity interconnection level to 10% by 2020.

The European Council will discuss the Energy Union at its meeting in March 2015.  

 

The Energy Union Strategy is built around five mutually-reinforcing and closely interrelated dimensions (energy security of supply, fully integrated European energy market, energy efficiency, economy decarbonisation, research, innovation and competitiveness) and it contains a series of concrete actions that will be taken in the first five years.

 

These actions include:

1.Use of all instruments for full implementation of existing energy legislation, in particular the 3rd Internal Energy Market Package and the Treaty's competition rules, by the Member States;

2. Revision of the existing security of gas supply Regulation, preparation of a comprehensive strategy for liquid natural gas and access to alternative suppliers;

3. Revision of the Decision on Intergovernmental Agreements in order to ensure compatibility with EU legislation before agreements are negotiated, involve the Commission in such negotiations, develop standard contract clauses covering EU rules and make commercial gas supply contracts more transparent;

4. Supporting the implementation of major infrastructure projects, particularly the Projects of Common Interest, through the available financial means and the future European Fund for Strategic Investments

5. Legislative proposals on security of supply for electricity and new European Electricity Market design;

6. Further development of the regulatory framework set-up by the 3rd Internal Energy Market Package in order to deliver a seamless internal energy market to citizens and companies;

7. Development of guidance on regional cooperation towards a fully integrated EU-wide energy market;

8. Production of biennial reports on energy prices, analyzing in depth the role of taxes, levies and subsidies and seeking the phasing out of regulated prices below cost; Protection of vulnerable consumers through social policies;

9. Reviewing and revision, where needed, of energy efficiency regulation in order to underpin the 2030 target of reaching at least 27% energy savings;

10. Development of a ‘Smart Financing for Smart Buildings’-initiative to make existing buildings more energy-efficient, facilitating access to existing funding instruments; Proposal of a strategy for facilitating investment in heating and cooling;

11. Proposal of a comprehensive road transport package promoting more efficient pricing of infrastructure, the roll-out of intelligent transport solutions and enhancing energy efficiency; a mix of national, regional and local measures, supported by the EU for the promotion of alternative fuels and clean vehicles;

12. Legislative proposals on achieving the greenhouse gas reduction target of at least 40% by 2030 agreed at the October 2014 European Council;

13. Proposal of a new Renewable Energy Package ensuring that the 2030 EU target of at least 27% at EU level for renewable energy will be met cost-effectively;

14. Development of a forward-looking, energy and climate-related research and innovation strategy to maintain European technological leadership and expand export opportunities;

15. Contribution to the international climate negotiations.

 

The Communication on the EU position for the climate negotiations sets out the EU's vision for a transparent and dynamic, legally binding agreement containing fair and ambitious commitments from all Parties on reductions of global emissions by at least 60% below 2010 levels by 2050. The Agreement should be in the form of a Protocol under the UNFCCC and EU, China and US should show political leadership by joining the Protocol as early as possible. The Communication underlines also that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Montreal Protocol should act to effectively regulate emissions from international aviation and shipping and the production and consumption of fluorinated gases before the end of 2016.

 

The communication on achieving the 10% electricity interconnection target by 2020, identifies that this target is the minimum required to enable the flow and energy trading among Member States. The Communication presents which Member States remain below the 10% electricity interconnection target, and are thus isolated from the internal electricity market, and what actions are necessary in order to reach the target.